Japan closer to Rugby World Cup

Kyodo News

Japan took a big step toward its third consecutive Asian Five Nations title and a 2011 Rugby World Cup berth by trouncing Kazakhstan 101-7 on Saturday.

Japan earned its third win in as many matches and improved to 18 points, six ahead of second-place Hong Kong, with one last match remaining between the top two teams.

The winner of the round-robin tournament automatically books a berth in next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, while the runnerup can also qualify through repechage.

Japan is looking for its seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.

Against Kazakhstan, Japan had a 33-7 lead at halftime and finished with 15 tries at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground.

John Kirwan’s side will clinch the title with a win or draw against Hong Kong next Saturday at the same venue.